Singapore Budget 2016: Schemes to help people upgrade skills and adapt to changing job demands

Visitors checking out the various courses available at the inaugural SkillsFuture roadshow at Westgate mall on Jan 9, 2016. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Two initiatives - the Adapt and Grow initiative and TechSkills Accelerator - will help Singaporeans to adjust to change and seize new opportunities as the Government takes steps to transform enterprises and industries through the Industry Transformation Programme.

Under the first, wage support schemes will be expanded for workers facing difficulties in finding new employment, and the Professional Conversion Programme (PCP) will be stepped up to more sectors to aid mid-career job seekers including retrenched professionals.

New programmes will be launched in sectors such as design and ICT. The Government expects to more than double the current outreach for professionals, managers, executives and technicians (PMETs) -- from the current 2,000 to more than 4,000.

The Adapt and Grow initiative will help people grow their skills and adapt to changing job demands, Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Wednesday (March 24).

The Ministry of Manpower will commit an additional $35 million a year from the Lifelong Learning Endowment Fund to support this.

As the demand for information and communications technology (ICT) professionals grow, the TechSkills Accelerator, a new skills development and job placement hub for the sector, will seek to facilitate training opportunities for in-demand ICT skills.

It will also develop industry-recognised skills standards and certification, and place greater value on certified skills proficiency, Mr Heng said.

As Singapore drives its Smart Nation effort, many more experts in the fields of programming, coding, cyber security and user experience design are required, he noted.

Major IT employers and associations will partner Infocomm Development Authority in this effort.

Apart from these, SkillsFuture initiatives will continue to be expanded and deepened, Mr Heng said.

Initiatives under this scheme will help Singaporeans take charge of their learning and maximise their potential through life, he said.

As announced in Budget 2015, spending on SkillsFuture and related schemes will average over $1 billion per year till 2020, Mr Heng said.

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